Meat and fat: Finding the ideal balance

Flesh protein can vary considerably in its fat content. Since we have individual differences in the amount of both fat and protein that is optimal for good health, it is important to know the fat content in different meat options. Below are lists of high, medium, and low-fat flesh protein (for purposes of this article, “meat” includes poultry and seafood).

High-fat meat choices (over 8 grams per 3.5 ounce serving=100 grams)

  • Anchovy, 10 grams
  • Bacon, 38 grams
  • Beef (although grass-fed is lower in fat than grain-fed): prime rib, ribs, inside skirt steak, 18 grams
  • Chicken (dark meat), 10 grams
  • Duck, 11 grams
  • Goose, 13 grams
  • Herring, 15 grams
  • Lamb, 19 grams
  • Mackeral, 18 grams
  • Pompano, 12 grams
  • Quail, 14 grams
  • Salmon, 10 grams
  • Sardine, 11 grams

Medium-fat meat choices (5-8 grams per 3.5 ounce serving)

  • Abalone, 7 grams
  • Bass (freshwater), 5 grams
  • Beef heart and liver, 5 grams
  • Pork (ham, chops), 8 grams
  • Rabbit, 8 grams
  • Swordfish, 5 grams
  • Trout, 7 grams
  • Whitefish, 8 grams

Low-fat meat choices (less than 5 grams per 3.5 ounce serving)

  • Buffalo, 2 grams
  • Chicken breast, 4 grams
  • Clams, 1 gram
  • Cod, 1 gram
  • Cornish hen, 4 grams
  • Crab, 2 grams
  • Elk, 2 grams
  • Goat, 3 grams
  • Halibut, 3 grams
  • Lobster, 1 gram
  • Mussels, 1 gram
  • Ostrich, 3 grams
  • Oysters, 1 gram
  • Scallop, 1 gram
  • Shrimp, 1 gram
  • Tuna (albacore), 3 grams
  • Turkey (light and dark meat), 1 and 4 grams respectively
  • Venison, 2 grams

Some people thrive on a higher fat diet and others on a lower fat diet. If you have more energy and satiety when you eat more fat, choosing higher-fat meats is wise or you can add additional fat such as coconut oil, olive oil or butter to lower fat meats. Eating the skin on poultry is another way to increase the fat content.

Our ancestors did not just consume flesh protein: they ate the whole animal. Even if you do not do well with large amounts of fat, some fat in the diet is important for overall health.

New Leaf has an excellent selection of meat, poultry and fish from local and sustainable sources. Live Earth Farm now has free-range chickens for sale. Staff of Life has a limited selection of grass-fed beef, but they do offer ground buffalo and ostrich. El Sachichero is also a good source of local, humanely raised meats.

Core strength: A 360 degree perspective

Everyone is always talking about the “core”. Essential for strength, stability, and preventing back pain, we’ve become obsessed with this region of the body, but are we all on the same page with defining what our core is? As you will see, the core is much more than just the ab muscles.

Muscles of the core:

The core is a group of muscles in our trunk that protect the spine while allowing movement in every direction. Defining the core is important for making it stronger. Being able to visualize the different muscles working as you exercise will help you strengthen more effectively.

  • Multifidus-Don’t let its small size fool you. This muscle is located right next to the low spine for a reason. It is vital to spinal support and strength.
  • Scapular stabilizers-Rhomboids, trapezius, levator scapulae, serratus anterior, and rotator cuff muscles keep the shoulder in place while performing movement. The harder the exercise, the harder they work as a team to prevent shoulder injuries. These muscles are considered the “core” of the shoulder.
  • Internal obliques-Allow side to side bending. Provide lateral support to the trunk. Also known as “love handles.”
  • External obliques-Diagonal bending, spinal stability, and abdominal compression.
  • Transverse abdominis-The deepest layer of ab muscles, the transverse acts as a corset and helps to hold in the belly and also stabilizes the pelvis.
  • Rectus abdominis-Commonly known as the “six-pack”, these muscles flex our trunk and help maintain proper posture.
  • Quadratus lumborum-This deep back muscle stabilizes the pelvis and moves the spine in different directions.
  • Psoas-This complex muscle performs a number of functions including holding the spine in alignment and stabilzing the low back.
  • Erector spinae-These long muscles of the low back provide support to the spine and help us stand up straight as well as bend and lift without rounding the back.
  • Pelvic floor-Support the internal organs and help prevent incontinence.
  • Glutes-Gluteus maximus, minimis and medius are all important for stabilizing the hips. Without strong, stable hips, we are unable to safely perform many common exercises.
  • Local places to strengthen your core:

    The core can be strengthened doing almost anything as long as you are aware of your posture and make an effort to move from your center. Here are some examples:

  • Walking or hiking
  • Weight training-at a local gym, at home or even outside
  • Outdoor play (running, jumping, throwing)
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Dancing
  • Pilates
  • Rock climbing-indoors at Pacific Edge, outdoors at Castle Rock or Pinnacles
  • Yoga-local gyms, bikram yoga studios, Nourish
  • Taking classes or working one-on-one with a fitness professional to gain a deeper understanding of your core is invaluable. These muscles work hard every day to prevent injury and optimize physical performance. It takes practice to learn how to use them correctly, but the benefits are well worth it.

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    Better digestion in 5 simple steps

    Digestion is the process of breaking down food into basic units (i.e. vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats and proteins) to be used by the body. Good digestion is a pillar of good health. Poor digestion can cause a wide array of health issues including abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea or constipation, reflux, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, and cravings.

    Here are some easy steps you can take to improve your digestion:

    1. Eat in a relaxing environment. Stress hormones such as cortisol stunt digestion by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity. If the body feels threatened, it uses energy to run and hide rather than rest and digest.
    2. Chew food thoroughly. Digestion starts in the mouth. Chewing not only physical breaks down food, it also activates important digestive enzymes. Most of us only chew 3-4 times before swallowing and we need to do better than that! Chew food till it is liquid before taking another bite.
    3. Eat, don’t drink, at mealtimes. Water or other beverages dilute hydrochloric acid in the stomach, weakening your ability to digest food. Drink water 15-20 minutes before and after meals to stay hydrated and ensure full-strength hydrochloric acid.
    4. Avoid carbonated beverages. Carbonation damages the parietal cells, which make hydrochloric acid.
    5. Consider taking digestive enzymes. If you have poor digestion, high quality digestive enzymes can help you absorb more nutrients from your food and repair damage to your digestive tract. New Leaf, Way of Life, and The Herb Room carry quality digestive enzymes.

    If you have difficulty integrating all five of these steps, pick one to start with and add in the others over time. Before you know it, you’ll be digesting food more thoroughly and getting more nutrition out of your meals.

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